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Ma won't accept political espionage: spokesman

Presidential Office spokesman Fan Chiang Tai-chi (范姜泰基) said yesterday that President Ma Ying-jeou had declared four years ago during his inauguration ceremony that political espionage will not be tolerated in Taiwan. The spokesman also added that the president has remained steadfast in his position against undemocratic activities.

Legislative Yuan Speaker Wang Jin-pyng's (王金平) meeting with former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen became public knowledge when footage of the speaker's limousine parked beneath Tsai's apartment was uploaded to the Internet. DPP Legislator Pan Men-an (潘孟安) told reporters on Friday that he suspected Ma of monitoring Wang's whereabouts, and that the footage was not taken by an ordinary citizen.

The person who uploaded the video explained that he took the footage on his way home from work. He explained that the speaker's limousine had caught his attention because it was parked on the wrong side of the road, and because the limousine's headlights were on.

Fan Chiang confirmed yesterday that the speaker had told the president in advance that he would be visiting opposition leaders to ensure the success of the upcoming extraordinary legislative session, dismissing rumors that the meetings were supposed to be confidential.

The spokesman also said the president is certain that the speaker's efforts in reaching out to the opposition will prove to be of great assistance once the extraordinary session begins.

Wang said on Friday that it has become commonplace for ordinary citizens to upload recorded footage online, dismissing rumors that he was being spied on.

Speculation about the meeting's nature arose when Tsai and Wang gave different accounts of the meeting's purpose in their press releases. Tsai said in her statement that the meeting focused on a discussion of the Little Ing Foundation, whereas Wang explained in his statement that he had gone to the meeting to ask the former chairwoman to exercise her influence over the opposition (to ensure the smooth-running of the extraordinary session).

Media Overreacting: Tsai

Tsai said yesterday that the media has been reading too much into her meeting with Wang. She also added that Wang was a guest of hers, and that it would have been inappropriate of her — as a host — to reveal what her guest said.

DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) told reporters yesterday that Tsai and Wang are old friends, and that there was nothing unusual about their meeting.

When asked why Wang hadn't visited him instead to discuss matters related the extraordinary session (given that Su is the leader of the opposition), the chairman replied that friends speak about a variety of topics when they meet, reiterating that there was nothing abnormal about the meeting between the former chairwoman and the speaker.

July 15, 2012    sinohog@
The U.S. has wrestled with the changes brought by people out snapping photos with their iphones, etc. Mainstream news outlets now post requests for photos on hot news topics. It has been a wrenching change for photojournalists as it cuts into available work and some say has resulted in a decline of standards. Politicians in Washington know that cameras are everywhere, now. The car of choice, even for the FBI director on his way to his morning briefing is an unmarked black American Sport Utility Vehicle with dark tinted windows that blends in with a sea of other similar cars during the morning commute. In New York, black Lincoln sedans are more common, even for billionaires. Since they are for hire too as well, it's impossible to tell who is in there.
July 16, 2012    sinohog@
In this case, investigators should first consult the Associated Press standards and Routers standards. Either office in Taiwan should be able to provide you with a copy. U.S. law is different. Normally photographers here are investigated according to the "stalking laws" Princess Dianna's death in France prompted this practice. I've never heard of it being applied to a photojournalist working for a mainstream publication, the New York Times, for example because photographers are monitored closely as to which stories that they are working on, etc. Therein lies the problem with "citizen journalists" who aren't aware of the statutes or have proper oversight by an organization. Taiwan needs to pass a similar law to bring it into line with European and American standards. At any case the major wire services editors know the current law in Taiwan and assign their photographers accordingly. You won't see one of them staking out a political leader. Instead, they work in government designated press areas and have to get exceptions approved by their editors. As far as "leaks" from inside the government, that happens in the U.S. Reporters have been found in contempt of court because of refusing to reveal the source of the leak. But there are still problems with "freelance" photographers. Most papers deal with this by requiring them to join either the ASMP or APA (American Society of Media Photographers, or Associated Photographic Artists). I belong to the latter and have to comply with their very strict rules (code of conduct) to keep my membership. But there is still the problem of Citizen Journalism whom are essentially persona non gratus in the ASMP or APA because they often don't follow the law or cut into their members lively hood. Photographers who violate the rules know that their careers are over once they are caught. That is usually enough to keep everyone above the law. In summary, Taiwan needs to pass anti stalking laws immediately to protect Taiwan citizens and famous personalities from this behavior.
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